Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MJ Rosenberg Plays Politics

Israel supporters have always been careful not to let American support for Israel become a partisan issue, the domain of one party or the other. So it's not exactly surprising that Israel's defamers like MJ Rosenberg will do whatever they can to turn it into one, while continuing to claim a fig leaf of being "pro-Israel." This time around he is using a Pew survey to prove that Democrats hate Israel and love the Palestinians and if only they would act on this then American policy would change. Obviously it goes without saying that polls and statistics run into their own sets of problems, and this wouldn't be the first time Rosenberg has used this tactic, but we'll go with the evidence presented. I'll let him get in the first word:
"The poll finds that when asked if their sympathies are more with Israelis or Palestinians, 66 percent of Republicans choose Israel compared with 49 percent of independents and just 39 percent of Democrats."
This is classic case of only sharing partial information. It is true that 39% of Democrats surveyed said they sympathized more with Israel. It's also true that a paltry 17% of Democrats said they sympathized more with the Palestinians, which means that 83% of Democrats don't sympathize with the Palestinians. As usual, Rosenberg is taking "neither" or "don't care/don't know" responses to mean that the people surveyed hate Israel as much as he does. Of the polled people in general, 49% sympathized more with Israel versus 12% who sympathized more with the Palestinians. Israel still has the huge lead despite all the endless propaganda being shoveled out against it on the Huffington Post and elsewhere. But Rosenberg can't admit defeat so he simply ignores what he doesn't want to hear. I think Ira Chernus might want to have a discussion with Rosenberg about relying on fantasy over reality.

After this Rosenberg declares that Democrats are the ones who really support Israel while the Republicans only play catch up. If this sounds like it contradicts everything Rosenberg has been saying for years, including the very basis of this article, that's because it does. He seems to believe that Republicans and Democrats are "lobby cutouts" and "AIPAC shills" yet also don't care Israel and will sell it out at the drop of a hat. It just depends on which mood he is in and which worldview he feels like pushing on any particular day.

Next up, he tries to make this about Jews and Democrats, and ends up contradicting himself again:
"The second reason that the partisan divergence is significant is that few Jews vote Democratic based on Israel policy. According to the comprehensive American Jewish Committee survey of Jewish public opinion, only 4.5 percent vote with their eye on Israel. That number is dwarfed by the 80 percent whose vote turns on the economy, health care and social security."
The man who built his career (or lack thereof) on accusing American Jews of disloyalty now can't wait to remind us that Jews are not "Israel firsters" after all...except when MJ Rosenberg wants them to be. This is also a clear case of the fallacy of hasty generalization. As Rosenberg can't keep himself from reminding us, both parties are pro-Israel or as he calls them, "AIPAC drones." So if, when it comes to Israel at least, the differences between Republicans and Democrats are marginal, why would anybody give their views on Israel the top priority? Am I making sense?

He is also assuming that if the Democratic party turns against Israel (something I'm sure he's lied awake long nights wishing would happen) then American Jews would turn with them. This might be the case but there isn't any evidence to indicate that, though that doesn't stop him from assuming that these latest poll numbers means a sea change in American support for Israel (emphasis mine):
"Until now there has been no force within the Democratic party arguing that America's uncritical support of Israeli policies may be bad for America and that it, by helping to sustain the 45-year-old occupation, is morally wrong. Among Republicans, indifference to the moral implications of the occupation would not be expected to cause much concern, but among Democrats it should...And now, according to the Pew poll, it probably is."
Oh MJ, you really do love to cling don't you?

Let me tell you what the Pew poll said: It said that Democrats don't sympathize with Israel in as great number as they used to. It said that Democrats support the Palestinians in slightly greater number than they used to. It also says that American sympathy for Israel continues to remain high and sympathy for the Palestinians remains low.

Here's what the Pew poll doesn't say: It doesn't say that those people who don't sympathize with Israel think that "support of Israeli policies may be bad for America" or that "the occupation is morally wrong." It is possible that they also think that, but there is nothing in the assigned evidence that they think that.

MJ Rosenberg is simply making things up. As usual.

This is J Street logic all over again. As we have pointed out before, J Street thinks that there is a silent majority of American Jews that, given the right environment, will be all too happy to tear Israel a new one and support a "balanced" American foreign policy. What J Street thinks applies to Jews Rosenberg applies to Democrats. If a Democrat doesn't sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians, obviously he hates Israel and will take to the streets to demand that America "end the occupation." Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either but I guess we all need something to keep us going every day.

I'm starting to realize that this article will go on longer than I expected so check by for the next installment. Come for the race baiting, stay for the lies.

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